Batman/Superman Vol. 1: Cross World
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Jae Lee
Review by Stephanie Cooke
When this series first came out, I gave the first issue a try and felt a little meh about it, but completed in the first arc, I decided to give it another shot with the hopes that the overall story made this whole thing more enjoyable and up my alley.
Did it succeed? DON’T RUSH ME… I’m getting to that!
First things first, let’s take a minute to talk about Jae Lee’s Catwoman… Meeeeeeo-ooooow, amirite?! I know, not the most original of jokes, but for real, this might be one of my favourite interpretations of Catwoman ever. EVER, guys. There’s a couple of panels where Lee not only captures what I envision Catwoman to look like in my dream CW book, but he captures her posturing and behaviourisms perfectly. Every single panel that she’s in is so distinctly Catwoman that even if I somehow didn’t know it was her, I would still know (for those of you who’ve read it, that panel with Catwoman on the ledge of a building? PERFECTION… or should I say purrrfection? I’ll stop now). Same for his version Lois Lane. Perfect, perfect, perfect.
The art, while superb mostly doesn’t completely suit the story though. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent (both in civilian form and super forms) are very anime-ish. It isn’t a bad thing, but if I don’t know if I liked it in this particular instance. At least when it came to the main fellas of the story. His Wonder Woman was a bit off to me too, being a bit wispy, literally in some cases. Lee gives a very gothic vibe to the book and right from page one, you know that this isn’t going to be a feel good story, even without Greg Pak’s script. I suppose Batman’s business card essentially says: ‘BATMAN – World’s Great Detective – Broody as f*ck’ but still, every now and again we have to have a fun story to lighten the mood a bit. This isn’t it though.
Onto the story that, as mentioned, is written by Greg Pak. I know he’s gotten a pretty good following over the last few years, but I’m honestly not too familiar with any of his previous works to get into that. Speaking as a first-time Pak reader, I found his writing style interesting and yet, in the case of a story involving two Batman’s and two Superman’s (due to some Earth 2 shenanigans), extremely confusing. Not a lot of clarity is given to what’s happening and the story was hard to follow at times. It’s an action-packed first arc of a series and I found myself struggling to understand where we were in the plot, almost constantly feeling like I had missed something.
I really do like Jae Lee’s art, but I don’t know if he was the right artist to work on this book as Lee’s abstract-ish panels left me feeling like I was missing even more of the puzzle. His work just didn’t mesh with Pak’s writing to answer questions missing from the script. If anything, it added to my confusion.
All in all, it seemed like a strong effort from both Pak and Lee but their creative partnership just didn’t work out to convey the story that they were seemingly trying to tell.
Pass. The art is worth checking out because hot damn, them be some beautiful pages, but for me, the story wasn’t worth adding to my shelves. I’m not sure if it’ll get better after this “build-up” arc but at this point, I don’t know if I care enough to find out, beautiful art or not.